Category News

4 Million Pounds of Microplastics Found in Corals, Causing Tissue Necrosis in Fishes

Harmful to ocean and aquatic life, microplastics make up the nearly three percent toxic pollutants in shallow, tropical waters where corals flourish. These toxic chemicals bring huge detrimental impact on reef health, and a new study reveals 4 million pounds of them may be stored in coral skeletons every year.

After 18 months of exposing corals in the lab to microplastics, researchers were able to put a number on how much of the tiny fragments of plastic are stored in them.

“Our study clearly indicates that microplastics are yet another human-made stress factor for corals and that they are very likely to contribute to further deterioration of coral reefs on our planet,” lead author Jessica Reichert reported.

The study conducted by this team of scientists from the University Giess...

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Portugal Establishes the Largest Fully PMR in Europe & North Atlantic

Giant anemone (Telmatactis cricoides) with white-striped cleaner shrimp in newly expanded Selvagens marine reserve

Today the government of Portugal expanded a marine protected area around the Selvagens Islands, creating the largest fully protected marine reserve in Europe at 2,677 square kilometers. The Selvagens Islands are a small archipelago in the North Atlantic located midway between Madeira and the Canary Islands.

National Geographic Pristine Seas studied the Selvagens Islands in September of 2015 in partnership with the Oceano Azul and the Waitt Foundation. During their expedition, the team conducted what was among the first underwater surveys of the ecosystem – from the shallows to the depths – and filmed the biodiversity around the islands...

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PADI And Nat Geo Team Up To Protect The Ocean

PADI and National Geographic Pristine Seas have announced a partnership to protect a minimum of 30% of our oceans. The organizations aim to achieve their goals by the year 2030.

The first act of the partnership is a global Dive Industry Economic Evaluation Survey which seeks to quantify the benefits of the dive industry to local economies. The survey will collate data from PADI dive centers, which scientists will then analyze at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Simon Fraser University.

Data and findings from the study will then be used to influence and lobby governments to help protect the environment and to establish and enlarge Marine Protected Areas.

Commenting on the new partnership, Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide stated:

“PADI Mission Hubs...

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Great Barrier Reef explodes into life in ‘magical’ spawning event

The Great Barrier Reef has “given birth” in its annual coral spawn, creating a cacophony of color on the Australian landmark. Scientists working beneath the waves say they witnessed the event, in which coral simultaneously release sperm and eggs en masse, overnight Tuesday off the coast of Cairns, Queensland, hailing it as a positive sign the reef was able to regenerate despite ecological threats.

“Nothing makes people happier than new life – and coral spawning is the world’s biggest proof of that,” Australian marine biologist Gareth Phillips, who had a front row seat to this year’s coral spawn, said in statement via Queensland Tourism and Events. 

Philips, from research center Reef Teach, and his team of marine biologists, divers, students and photographers dived to the bottom of ...

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Coral reefs facing their own pandemic

A lethal disease known as stony coral tissue loss is devastating coral colonies across Florida’s coast and much of the northern Caribbean. Likely caused by bacteria or a virus, the disease spreads through water currents and on the bottoms of shipping vessels, reports Douglas Main for National Geographic. It can infect and kill at least 22 coral species, including slow-growing and reef-building corals — which build up massive layers of calcium carbonate and help form fully functioning reef ecosystems. 

“Colonies that took hundreds of years to grow can be wiped out in a matter of weeks,” marine ecologist Craig Dahlgren told National Geographic. 

The stony coral tissue loss disease outbreak could put even more pressure on Caribbean corals, which are already severly threatene...

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What did the scientists make of COP26?

Scientists and leading climate experts have voiced concerns about the outcomes of the COP26 climate conference, in Glasgow. Those who spoke to the BBC praised the conference for getting countries to agree to meet again next year to pledge deeper emissions cuts. And they welcomed agreements on forests, innovation and especially methane – from fossil fuel extraction and livestock. 

But the scientists fear politicians won’t deliver. And they say the hope of holding temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is far too unambitious anyway.

The experts say that with a temperature rise so far of just 1.1C, the world is already in a state of dangerous heating, with record temperatures, wildfires, floods and droughts.

Prof Sir David King, former UK chief scientist,told me: “...

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Can this new fund save coral reefs before it’s too late?

Coral reefs have been called the “canary in the coalmine” for the devastating impacts of climate change. While these colorful underwater ecosystems cover less than 0.2% of the sea floor, they are critically important: 25% of all marine life depend on them at some point in their life cycle, and nearly 1 billion people rely on them for everything — from food security to tourism and livelihoods, and to protection from storms. 

But they’re dying fast. Coral reefs face the greatest extinction risk of any ecosystem on earth. More than half of them have been lost over the past 50 years. Even if leaders succeed in hitting the 1.5 degree Celsius climate targets, the world is projected to still lose up to 90% of its coral reefs, posing a major disruption of coastal communities.

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What is COP26 and what was agreed at Glasgow climate conference?

The world is warming because of emissions from fossil fuels used by humans, like coal, oil and gas. Extreme weather events linked to climate change – including heatwaves, floods and forest fires – are intensifying. The past decade was the warmest on record and governments agree urgent collective action is needed. For COP26, 200 countries have been asked for their plans to cut emissions by 2030. 

Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, they were asked to make changes to keep global warming “well below” 2C – and to try to aim for 1.5C – in order to prevent a climate catastrophe.

The goal is to keep cutting emissions until reaching net zero in 2050.

World is getting warmer graphic

What’s been agreed so far at COP26?

A draft COP26 text has now been released, which it’s hoped will form the basis of an agreement...

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In just 30 years, marine heatwaves have turned the Great Barrier Reef into a bleached checkerboard

Just 2% of the Great Barrier Reef remains untouched by bleaching since 1998 and 80% of individual reefs have bleached severely once, twice or three times since 2016, our new study revealed on November 4. We measured the impacts of five marine heatwaves on the Great Barrier Reef over the past three decades: in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020. We found these bouts of extreme temperatures have transformed it into a checkerboard of bleached reefs with very different recent histories.

Whether we still have a functioning Great Barrier Reef in the decades to come depends on how much higher we allow global temperatures to rise. The bleaching events we have already seen in recent years are a result of the world warming by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.

World leaders meetin...

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COP26 – Change the World

The 1980s were a time of global consciousness and a willingness of individuals to take responsibility for others. It was a time of global events to raise awareness and funds for people in need.  It started with Live Aid and continued with Sport Aid, Hands Across America, Canada’s Northern Lights and The First Earth Run. It was an incredible time when people removed responsibility from policymakers and took action themselves – individually and collectively. 

The movement started with music – Live Aid, Tears Are Not Enough, We Are the World, Do They Know It’s Christmas?

But I believed people could do more than listen to music and make donations – they could actively engage in the cause.

‘I Ran the World’ is my story about that time – how the world demanded change and delivered ...

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